Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Trip to Morni Hills, Chandigarh

August 15, Independence Day-An ideal day to check out the hill station near to Chandigarh since we were already in Chandigarh on a visit.

The weather was good. It had rained for two days so the drive up was picturesque. We stopped the car many times just to take in the scenery. On the way we passed many other cars doing the same. Ha! this is like heaven after the hustle bustle of daily life.

View of Chandigarh from half way up Morni Hills, on the Shivalik range



Lush green creeper, the leaves of which are used for making leaf plates(patthal)




" Nature Camp, Forest Department" My husband noticed the board. Shall we check this out? But then we cannot make it to the top which is still 12 km away. Remember we need to go back by evening." A quick decision was made -nature camp it is. After all Forest Dept would have selected the most scenic spot on the hill, I reasoned.

It was a scenic spot. On top of a small hill surrounded by nurseries for trees and freshly planted variety of trees. The thatched roof dining hall looked inviting. The stilted huts reminded us of the tourist huts we had seen in the islands of South Korea.

The carefully tended nursery at nature camp



Scenic view from nature camp. Double click on the photo and notice the blue water tank on the left.



Thatched roof dining hall



Stilted huts for tourists to stay




But the place seemed strangely quiet. No tourists were visible. A few workers appeared. " Madam, we have not started operations. After the place was built we found there is no water here. The water table is so low and the khads (rivulets fed by rain water) below are always bare because of mining." Mining? "Yes, the auction for this year is about to begin."

We decided to take a different route back to Chandigarh. A short cut from the other side of Morni Hills. A road not well developed and full of potholes. Each pothole reminded us of the reality of our country's serious efforts to preserve the pristine. The roadside was dotted with trucks and stone crushers for miles on end. The houses and slum dwellings seemed to have just one focus-cutting the mountain, mining the stones and crushing them.

Down the hill from the other side- (Double click on the photo, a truck is there near the dwelling )



The Shivalik Hills sliced and cut for mining



The alternate route is certainly not inviting!



Stone crushers and trucks dot the landscape on all sides



Close up view of crushed Shivalik



Slums of stone workers -a few yards from Chandigarh city



We entered Chandigarh city, into the up market residential colony, Panchkula. The beauty of Morni Hills seemed a distant dream, even though we had experienced it just an hour ago.

27 comments:

  1. Very true this is the story of almost all hills -be it shivalik, deccan or the himalayas...but i found something very interesting - the couple entered the Up Market Residential Colony and it somehow didn't strike the Author that her UpMarket Residential Home was constructed by the Concrete from the Shivalik or some other hill.

    And all those cars on Morni Hills are a result of Bauxite Mining / coal mining (for power) and thermal power plants (for power used in manufacture), the petrol from the Offshore Fields that destroy coastal systems and throw fisher folk out of their livelihoods...

    for sure the beauty / destruction of Morni Hills is not felt inside the air-conditioned homes of Up Market City dwellers.

    saraswati

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  2. Balance, sensitivity and sustainable use of natural resources can co-exist, if we do not become unidimensional.
    Problem with bleeding heart urbanites is, when in Morni, they see the crushers but forget to see the shanties of 100's of labourer-families who would probably be unemployed/starve but for the crushers..I know employing them at the crushers is not the optimal solution but can we have a dialogue - fact is the world has moved on and 'nothing or everything' choice does'nt seem viable either for Morni Hills or for the others. What is apparent is that inaction is not a choice either

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  16. Thanks for providing information about Morni Hill, i will definitely visit Morni Hills in my next visit and i recently been to tripe in Chandigarh and stayed in five star hotel in Chandigarh called KC Royal Park Hotel.

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  24. Nice trip and pictures also. Gateway to Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh is known for its proximity to major tourist hillstations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala. Check out best 5 star hotels in Chandigarh also.

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